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>> announcer: funding for "to the contrary" provided by the cornell douglas foundation, committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment. land conservation. watershed protection. and eliminating harmful chemicals.
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additional fundg provided by the cole come foundation. the wallace genetic foundation. the carpenter foundation and the charles afruoff foundation. >> this week on to the contrary: first, single families and the decline of men. then, leaning in or falling behind? "behind the headlines," the history of women in defense. ♪ ♪ >> hello. i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, are single families hurting men?
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new research shows the decades long decline in mens wages may be linked to the rise of single-parent families: the number of children living with two parents has declined by almost 20 percent during the past 40 years. the majority of single parent households are led by women. the struggles men face in the workforce may be both caused by and the effect of single parent house holds. men who don't make as much money or don't hold stable jobs are not attractive as partners so some women are choosing to bare and raise children alone, a growing bank of research shows men raised by single mothers may be less successful, thus creating a vicious cycle. >> congresswoman not tan, do you think single mothers are the cause of men doing poorly in the
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workforce? >> no, bonnie. the outpouring response to the globalization of the economy is responsible. if it weren't for women's incomes, the american standard of living would have taken a nose-dive. >> i think it would be more accurate to say the break down of the family is the problem here and that contributes to cull cheurkt woes and other woes that go with it. >> it's a simple explaintion for a difficult problem. >> i don't think it's something that has been a phenomenal or occurring in the future. it's been going on for decades. >> it's been going on for decades but a couple of decades more women can't find men they want to be with permanently so they have kids on their own. and i don't know the percentages in this survey that we're discussing, but i would imagine a lot of those single parent families that they're talking about are not divorced women,
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are not widows but they are women that actually went out on their own and had children and i want to know what you all think the impact of that is on raising sons? >> you know, the notion of a vicious cycle is very important here. if men are not perceived in some way equal in their ability to earn an income, many women would rather not and they go on and unfortunately have children anyway and look for another kind of mate. those mates aren't to be found very easily. so it's very hard and i think it would be a big mistake to see this as anything but a cycle that we must break into. >> i completely agree with you. look, the fact that they -- >> we're making history on the show. 40 percent of children with this country are now born out of wedlock. 40 percent. and it wasn't that way that many
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years ago but it's because of the vicious cycle. and the fact that families made up of two-parent stable households are more financially stable. they provide better not just finances but a better culture for children growing up and the fact is children coming out of broken homes or single parent homes don't tend to do as well statistically whether it's education or how many of them end up graduating from high school. all of that contributes to whether somebody is going to get a good job or not down the road and what their prospects are so takes vicious cycle and i think we as a culture, not just the government need to say marriage is important, children having a mom and dad is important and yes it makes a difference in their lives. >> that's true that we need to, you know, encourage people to get married and have kids within a marriage relationship so they can have two parents at home. that's the best structure. but the fact is it's very, very
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difficult for many of these women in the communities that they leave to live in that environment, and obviously the data is showing that is not an option. >> so what is -- what is something that really can be done about it? because i agree with genevieve about telling people they should get mered but nobody is listening. >> and i tell you i was a single mom, i am a single mom, and my kids were young and it took me a long time to find a partner but in the meantime i thought i need to be in the community, i cannot do this alone. and i built a community of male friends so my kids were exposed to everything so i think we need to think about creatively about how to raise these kids because i think single motherhood is not only part of the problem but it is part of the problem and we need to be creative in the solutions that we look for. >> well a lot of women don't have the choice honestly whether or not they're going to raise the child alone. >> what do you mean by that, a
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lot of women don't have a choice, you mean they get pregnant and -- >> yeah, they get pregnant and the father doesn't stick around so it's not that they're choosing because they got divorced or choosing because they want to raise the kid alone because the male isn't making enough money or anything like that. it's that the partner is choosing not stick around. >> but there's another choice obviously -- they could not in the first place -- certainly use contraception or b, if you're pregnant and not in a situation to raise a child properly terminate the pregnancy. >> i wouldn't personally say that's a choice and i don't think you would either but adoption is another choice to choose to give your child another life, because to go back to the statistics that you were talking about, kids who were in two parent homes, only a third of those children are no poverty, whereas kids who are in single parent homes are much
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likely to be in poverty and 80 percent more likely to be in poverty. >> all of these choices are important and women are taking them. for example, women don't have any children. they make this one mistake. look, i was so frustrated with this issue in terms of finding a way into it. for most of my time in the commission i have had a commission on black women and boys. the way i'm breaking into it is focusing on boys and men. that's the missing ingredient. niece women who are raised by single women who do much better than the boys raised by single women. that says to me that we have to focus on boys and men much more than we have in the past. >> because little boys and little girls need fathers. and it's a bigger impact on a little boy's life when they don't have the male role model. you're right. we have to find ways. >> and there will be families that have single moms or dads with children. unfortunately in many cases what
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happens is these communities, all of these folks are together so because of the economic standpoint and the like you have a lot of single mothers living next door to each other, kids with no fathers, they're not in a place where they see a guy getting up and going to work every day u that's a tragedy because that tells the child -- what is their life supposed to look like? >> another point, the guides have to wake up, you know. the guys have to take responsibility. so i appreciate the fact that you are focusing on the boys and the men, because you know, the rules of the game are out there. go to college, get an education, you will get a better job. and they're not going to college and they're not getting a better education and they has to be put on the table, too. >> and this issue will continue. let us know what you think. @bonnieerbe. >> from single parent households to working women. more and more, self-described feminists are opting for the traditional role of housewif.
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in 2011, the number of stay-at-home mothers rose for the first time since the economic downturn. and young mothers account for a significant portion of this increase. a recent new york magazine cover story profiles a 33-year-old mom with an advanced degree. she says despite being a "flaming liberal feminist," leaving her career to tend to her husband and kids has been incredibly rewarding. while faceok ceo sheyl sandberg is telling young women to "lean in" and embrace career ambitions, many young mothers' ambitions appear to center on the home. samantha ettus wrote an opinion piece this week for forbes magazine saying the retro wife mentality makes it hard for corporate women to get to the top and the american economy will be in trouble if women are not afforded a fair opportunity in the workforce.
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>> they just don't represent women today. me than 70 percent of moms are working moms and the discussion should really be around how to make their lives as successful and enjoyable as possible and productive as possible ask not about catering to the small group of people that have -- it's really a luxury pace where they're a stay-at-home mom and we're working for such a long time. our careers are from 21 to 75 perhaps, and children are young and you know, tho years at home are so short that it's such a small percentage of a woman's career. and the reality of the workforce today is that there unfortunately is no on ramp. >> so patricia sosa this is a huge topic obviously and we don't have a lot of time. but she did say, these women,
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and we're talking about, as she mentioned a rich, well educated segment of the population. we're not talking about the acknowledge person but these women with these high-powered ivy league degrees who start in the expwrfers say i had a kid and i want to do this and i'm leaving so i can take care of it, do they impact other women in the workforce who are trying to get ahead and wouldn't quit their jobs, do they get tagged in some way? >> i think this is a very simplistic way of looking at this debate. women should have choices. the problem when you have a debate and you focus on the wrong people, great, magnificent, great. you go toarvard, you want to stay at home, get married, more power to you. but those are not the ones that need child care and a higher minimum wage. they are not the ones that need leave. there are so many women that
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have no choice that have to work and the debate should be centered on those women and not just the privileged ones that can stay at home. >> i kind of agree. i think -- i think it's just pathetic frankly when here we say women should have choices and women are coming out and criticizing other women for their choices. so what if you have a harvard degree or if you're from the university of texas or you didn't go to college. if you have an opportunity to raise your children at home and not have a job outside the home and that's what you want to do, good. if you're somebody who has one of those degrees and doesn't and decides you want to work outside of your home, that's good, too, i i don't understand why -- >> it's still new and the media is going to cover it and we're going to talk about i for a woman to say i'm a blazing liberal feminist and i'm going home and becoming a full-time
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homemaker -- >> and the problem is, even some of these women and remember not all of these women are very rich. they're very well jaitdz, they really don't have the kind of resources to get an jietd nanny and when they look at bat is out here, they say, well, i. have one child this is a false debate. this is a tiny group of women at the same time that they are getting out, you also have women goal line going you were the corporate ladder. we have women competing in positions they never would have even thought of and i'm completely unbothered by this choice. i thought when i was a young feminist we were always accused of wanting everybody to go to work. that was because at that time, the housewife lifestyle seemed to be the only lifestyle. over and over again we said we are for choices, we are for
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choices. now how can we not be for choices nobody can say it better than that. >> i agree with you second time. not is your choice to do that, you don't want to work, you want to be at home with your children. i was telling you before the show that's what my grandmother did. she had seven kids and wanted to stay at home with the kids and that's lovely. that's not my choice but i respect that choice for other women who want to be there for their children. >> the problem is that you don't want that to affect the fact that when it goes to working families, this country is not where we need to be. we have parental leave but it's not paid. child care policies are weak and programs are not strong. so there's a lot we need to do for the working family. >> does the retro housewife mentality hurt women in a way?
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the acknowledge working women? >> it could potentially hurt women, particularly girls, because the reality is that most women do not have a choice. and you want your girls -- i'm the mother of a 13-year-old girl, i want her to welcome the working world and be part of the working world because she is likely to be part of that working world: i don't want her to be frustratedded and -- well, it makes it the ideal choice. they're lucky. and the rest of us have to do it because we're forced to do it. >> i think we have to be careful. some people go and get a great educatn for the zake of getting a great education. then they say, okay, i have done that but i don't have to go into the workforce. and we say people have to work, families have to make decisions. it may be different, we may have a bigger house if both of us works and smaller house if one of us stays home. and having a smaller house with
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one parent at home may be a really good choice. >> growing number of house husbands have not hurt men. >> exactly. but there is that gender difference that women get tagged by corporate women and ambitious women do get tagged by women who to the opt out of the workforce. >> it doesn't. the dramatization of the housewife lifestyle i do not see in our country today. >> "behind the headlines," women in defense. in honor of women's history month, we take a look at women's role in national security throughout history and in today's world. >> it shows women fighting beside their meal counterparts
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thought history and when they were not fighting with the males there's the army nurse core helping them. women have been on the front lines for a lot longer than people care to admit. the history of women in the military is highlighted by pioneers such as deborah sampson, one of the only women to fightn the revolutionary war. she did so disguised as a man. other women of note include the first female brigadier general in the army, anna mae hayes, the first female rear admiral in the navy, alene duerk, and the first female secretary of any military branch, sheila widnall, who served as secretary of the air force in the 1990s. this covert and overt battlefield service, as well as female representation in defense contracting industry is whaled several women to form women in defense. tricia ward is the organization's president.
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>> women in defense really started out 1979. it really was the brainchild of 7 really dynamic women. and these women got together and said, you know it really would be of benefit, mutual benefit to everyone, not only the industry, to defense at large, it really would be a benefit to form our own organization. since then, it really has grown over the past 27 years. >> the group held its inaugural women's history month event, giving the service of the flag award to carolyn becraft former assistant secretary of the navy. also in attendance was brigadier general wilma vaught, another highly decorated servicewoman. >> as i stood with general vaught to my left and the honorable carolyn becraft to my right, and hearing the stories that they talked about. carolyn had said when she was pregnant with her first child she was /asked to leave the ary.
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but that's the way it was in her day. i thanked them both sincerely for paving the way for me specifically. i've had four children on active duty. >> tricia ward has done it all. the now-retired naval senior chief ward works in support of the military with booz allen hamilton. she says people don't realize gender is not the issue inside military and defense fields. both the men and women are focused the job. >> now that i have a perspective from both sides, i think the difference is what people from the outside make it such a huge difference. when you're in the navy and you're standing shoulder to shoulder with your male counterparts, you don't know there is a difference. i didn't know there was a difference until i got out and heard everyone talk about how different it was. so i think it's really the outside looking in. >> and even now, ward sees women as an integral part of the mission for national security. >> the interesting thing is that
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in many of the cultures in the middle east, men aren't allowed to talk to theomen villars. so our soldiers would go in and try to get intel from friendly villagers and they really couldn't. they weren't allowed to go into the kitchen because that was considered where the women were and they certainly couldn't go into the bedrooms and they weren't able to talk to the children. where if you have women there with you, they certainly can, it's very appropriate for our female marines to go in and talk to them. so we were able to get lots of advantageous information to help us get a handle on what going on in those areas and help. >> and with a record number of women entering the military and more women joining national security fields, women in defense will continue to grow. >> we are currently over 4000 members. and that spans from the new england shoreline, it goes all the way down to what we not call
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the space coast which is the gulf coast of florida. it also goes from dc all the way out to l.a. our mission really is to cultivate and provide professionals opportunities and cultivate and apply networking for women across all defense industries primarily in national security because we're a national security organization. >> i'm just blown away genevieve about how much progress women are making in the defense contracting industries, running major companies, lots of them. then you hear about this documentary that is out, "the invisible war" how women at the bottom of the lower ranks are getting raped by their commanding officers. make sense of that for me please. >> well, i don't think many people realize how many women are involved in our military and defense industry, whether in the services themselves or with defense contractors.
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the documentary that you mentioned, i haven't actually seen it but there have been some terrible things that have happened. no doubt about that. but i think we need to be careful in the that don't baint the entire military as against women because they're not. buthildren in the workplace, it's better off the defense industry has men and women in it. >> isn't it interesting that at least on the surface, eleanor, it seems like women have advanced much more quickly in defense contracting companies than in the military itself? >> let me say just how remarkable it is. this is an interest where to be hired in one of those c.e.o. jobs, you used to be to be a retired general or admiral and here these whim who have never been in the -- i think we need to look at the
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last secretary with boys and how they were raise and had look at every generation they are in. these women did not spend every friday and saturday watching football. >> my partner comes from that field so i have been looking at this. looking closer, these companies have done a good job promoting their women. they created a friendly environment are to the women and they have decided we knead real talent and cannot compromise. if it's male or female, we need the talent and we're going to give them the opportunity. it's definitely looking closely because that can be a model for a lot of others. >> i think you're absolute lid right. i have friends in this industry, a friend who is a jag. and i was asking him and he women are more likely than men to move up. >> why though? that's a key question. >> it's a a good question. >> because the retirements are different. well, being in the military jobs are not the same kind of thing as defense contracting jobs and defense contractors are more businesses if you will, where
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the military there's also things that come into physical strength. >> eleanor, you said lots of them didn't grow up but the once that patricia ward spoke about and women in defense most of them are former officers. >> but they were in the surface when they were very few women. now we have large numbers of the women coming in with men of this generation, boys in this generation and they're into sex and i don't think that was the case when there were very few women and they entered as pioneers. >> do you think it had as a lot to do with the physical aspects? last summer the marines opened up more to women and the women were not able to meet the physical retirements. >> that's it for this edition of "to the contrary." great topics and thank you. please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe and at "to the contrary" and check our new website:
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where the discussion continues. whether you agree or think, to the contrary, please join us next time. >> funding for "to the contrary" provided by -- the cornell douglas foundation, committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment. land conservation. watershed protection. and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by the kohl come foundation.
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the e rhodes and leona beach foundation and the charles a.fruoff foundation. for a transcript or to s a online version of ts episoe of "to the contrary," please visit our pbs web site at

To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe
PBS March 23, 2013 11:30am-12:00pm PDT

News/Business. (2013) Women in defense. New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 5, Genevieve 2, Carolyn Becraft 2, Navy 2, Douglas 2, Rhodes 1, Patricia Ward 1, Bonnieerbe 1, Wilma Vaught 1, Carolyn 1, Vaught 1, Sheila Widnall 1, Sheyl Sandberg 1, Deborah Sampson 1, I. 1, Anna Mae Hayes 1, Patricia Sosa 1, Bonnie 1, Samantha Ettus 1, Booz Allen Hamilton 1
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